Saturday, January 28, 2006

So long, Sven

The announcement that Sven-Goran Wriksson would be stepping down as England coach after this year's World Cup rather than seeing out his contract to 2008 has, predictably, led to a lot of apocalyptic prophesying, ranging from "This will ruin England's World Cup chances!" to "They should have sacked him ages ago!"

My reaction, on the other hand, was an overwhelming "So what?" It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would be gone after the World Cup -- win or lose. The more interesting question is who they're going to get to replace him. There's a lot of pressure for the next sucker manager to be English, which I think is crap. I can understand preferring an English manager -- I can just imagine the outcry in Canada if we brought in a Russian to coach the national hockey team, for example. But when the most credible candidate is someone like Sam Allardyce? Um, no.

Now, even though I'm not a Bolton fan, I'll admit that he's done a good job for the team. But I don't think he's got the top-level experience you need for a job like this. Not compared to Guus Hiddink or Luis Felipe Scolari, the two international candidates at the top of the list. o basically, the main point in his favour is that he's English? And therefore supposed to be better able to motivate his players or something? Again: crap.

Look at the top three managers in the Premiership at the moment: Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Alex Ferguson. Not a one of them English, and they don't seem to have any problems motivating their teams. Well, maybe Fergie, but somehow I don't think that's due to his Englishness or lack thereof. Actually, here's my dream scenario: One of Hiddink or Scolari to manage England, the other to take over at United, and Allardyce to stay at Bolton so we can keep criticizing their style of football. Or maybe he can move to Newcastle...I suspect there'll be an opening there soon enough.

One other note: Sven says that one of the reasons he decided to quit was because he was tired of the press prying into his private life. Maybe that wouldn't happen so much if he would stop shagging secretaries and TV presenters. Just a thought.

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